<br /> Lee Letter: n422

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: John Adams

My dear Sir.

Our enemies at N. York had contrived to distress us a good deal by a
publication that the Boston was taken & carried into England. We
were at first greatly concerned for our Friend, until we reflected on
the lying genius of our enemies, and the improbability that Heaven
would permit such a triumph of Vice over Virtue. Now we are made happy
by an account from Boston that you are safely arrived in France. The
Treaty with France was soon ratified here, desiring only that the 11th
& 12th Articles might be reconsidered and omitted. Three Copies of
the ratification have been sent away from hence near a month, and now 3
more are dispatching. The former dispatches would inform you the
determination of Congress upon the English Acts of pacification, before
we knew of our new Alliance, and these will acquaint you with the
reception Messrs. the Commissioners from London have met with. The
figure they cut is truly ridiculous. If this were all it would be happy
for England, but she seems now to be a Setting Star. Two days ago the
B. Army abandoned Philadelphia and our Troops are in possession of that
City. The enemy are in the Jersies, but whether they mean to push for
Amboy, or embark below Billingsport on the Delaware, is yet uncertain.
The Jersey Militia are in readiness, & if our Army can cross
Delaware in time, the gentry will yet get a parting blow. The friends
to the future happiness and glory of America are now urging the
Confederation to a dose, and I hope it will be signed in a few days.

All but a few Delegates have powers, and those that have not, come from
Small States, that will undoubtedly fall in. Our next business is
Finance, and this is a momentous point indeed. Every state exclaims we
are overflown with our emissions of Money, yet all seem to be going on
in the same beaten Track, and will I fear until invincible Necessity
shall force a change. I wish to bring you, and my brother Dr Lee to be
well acquainted. Republican Spirits who have so successfully labored
for the liberty of their Country, and whose sole object is the security
of public happiness, must esteem each other. The Continental Army is
now on a much more respectable footing, both for numbers &
discipline, and supplies of every kind, than it has been since the War
began. It will give me singular pleasure to hear of your happiness at
all times.

I am dear Sir most sincerely and affectionately yours,

Richard Henry Lee

[P.S.] Cannot Monsr. Beaumarchais demand against us be fully and fairly
explained? There is mastery in this business that demands to be
thoroughly developed.1 Be so kind as to
contrive the letters for my brothers safely to
them.2

R.H.L.

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Massachusetts Historical Society. Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 416 – 17.

1 For Lee’s earlier comments on Caron de Beaumarchais’ commercial “demands”
on Congress, see Lee to John Adams, 13 May 1778. On Beaumarchais’
accounts, see Committee of Commerce to the Commissioners at Paris,
16 May, and Committee of Congress Report, 10 June 1778.

2 No June 1778 letters from Richard Henry Lee to either Arthur or William Lee have been found.